The Hall of Fame is not church

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The Hall of Fame is not church

With the Hall of Fame candidates released today by the Baseball Writers Association of America, Canada, Japan, Various Hispanic Nations and All The Ships At Sea, the moralists are back in full flight and plumage.

Oh, hurray.

The debate that always seems to happen on this subject is thus resumed, with no resolution or even advancement in thought on either side expected. In other words, let the apoplectic shouting resume.

In fact, let me add to it by pointing out something to those voters who prefer to make their annual petulant stand on performance enhancing drug use and Hall of Fame something they may have forgotten in their annual blood pressure spike.

YOU DON'T WORK FOR BASEBALL! YOU ARE NOT GUARDIANS OF THE GAME! IT IS NEITHER YOUR JOB, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY OR EVEN YOUR RIGHT TO KEEP THE GAME PURE OF MISCREANTS WHEN IT SHOWS EVERY DAY THAT IT DOESNT WANT TO BE!

And might I add:

YOU SILLY SELF-DELUDED BASTARDS!

I just needed to get that last one off my chest. Sorry.

All the other arguments about whether Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, et. al., deserve inclusion have been exhausted, to no effect. People long ago stopped listening anyway, which is why shouting is the only way to even get any aerobic exercise on this topic any more.

So let us deal with the new round of explanations and rationalizations in the only way that seems to make even a ripple by shouting. And in no particular order:

THE HALL OF FAME IS NOT CHURCH. IT IS THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL, FOR GOOD AND ILL. IF IT ISN'T, THEN WHY ARE THE MEN WHO DEFENDED THE COLOR LINE IN THE HALL? WHY IS TY COBB IN THE HALL? WHY IS KENESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS IN THE HALL? THERY ARE PART OF THE HISTORY, TOO. REMEMBER?

Next:

GIVEN THAT THE OWNERS HAD BEEN WARNED ABOUT THE DANGERS OF STEROIDS IN PARTICULAR BACK IN 1988 AND DID NOTHING ABOUT IT FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, WASN'T PED USE THE INDUSTRY STANDARD FOR MORE THAN A DECADE? YES, IT WAS. THEIR RULES, NOT YOURS.

And then:

WHEN DID JOURNALISTS START DEFENDING THE ERADICATION OF PEOPLE AND FACTS TO ACHIEVE A DESIRED END FOR THE BENEFIT OF PEOPLE THEY ALLEGEDLY OBJECTIVELY COVER? IF YOU CAN ANSWER THAT WITH A WORD OTHER THAN NEVER, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY QUIT YOUR JOB.

Not to mention:

HOW IS IT DEFENSIBLE NOT TO VOTE FOR JEFF BAGWELL BASED ON A SUSPICION, AS YET NEITHER PROVEN NOR EVEN EVIDENCED, THAT HE MIGHT HAVE DONE SOMETHING AT SOME POINT TO EXPLAIN HIS ACHIEVEMENTS? YOURE COMFORTABLE WITH THAT LEVEL OF INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY?

And might I add:

SINCE WHEN IS CRAIG BIGGIO'S CASE FOR INCLUSION ENHANCED BY THE NOTION THAT HE HAS NEVER BEEN SUSPECTED OF PED USE? IF I SAID OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD THAT I THINK HE USED BRAZILIAN WOMBAT EXTRACT FOR SIX WEEKS TO HELP HIM TRANSITION TO THE RIGORS OF SECOND BASE IN 1992, CAN I KEEP HIM OFF MY BALLOT? DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE TO YOU AT ALL?

By the way, I'm voting for Craig Biggio, so don't try to misconstrue that last one.

WHEN WERE YOU HIRED TO DEFEND THE MYTHICAL PURITY OF THE GAME? WHO PAID YOU TO DO THIS? YOUR WHY DO YOU HAVE A STAKE IN DISTORTING HISTORY, OR DEFENDING NUMBERS? WHY IS REALITY NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU?

And might I add a corollary:

ISN'T IT BETTER FOR YOUR CASE TO VOTE IN PLAYERS YOU KNOW OR THINK USED PERFORMANCE ENHANCERS SO THAT BASEBALL CAN LIVE WITH THE SHAME THAT COMES FROM LOOKING THE OTHER WAY ON WHAT WERE ACTUALLY FELONIES? I MEAN, IF YOU HAVE A STAKE IN CLEANING UP THE GAME, WHICH YOU SHOULDN'T, ISN'T REMINDING THE INDUSTRY OF ITS OCCASIONAL SYSTEMATIC FAILURES PART OF THAT JOB?

And finally, because my voice is giving out:

VOTE FOR WHOMEVER THE HELL YOU WANT. LET A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM, AS THAT GRAND OLD BALL FAN MAO ZEDONG ONCE SAID. JUST DON'T TELL US YOU DID IT BECAUSE THE GAME DESERVES TO BE REPRESENTED BY THE FINEST CALIBER PEOPLE. BASEBALL IS ALL CLASSES OF PEOPLE, MISCREANTS, NOBLEMEN AND ALL POINTS IN BETWEEN, AND THAT'S WHAT IT DESERVES. YOU CAN'T CHANGE THAT, AND CASTING A VOTE WITH THAT IN MIND DISTORTS WHAT YOU SEE AND WRITE ABOUT.

And if you think baseball should reward only clean players and punish PED users, please remember this:

MELKY CABRERA JUST GOT A RAISE FROM HIS 2012 CONTRACT. IF BASEBALL IS FINE WITH THAT, WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR STANDARD FOR THEIR HALL SUPERCEDES THEIR OBVIOUS POSITION ON THE MATTER?

Okay. I'm going to melt down some cough drops and shoot them directly into my larynx now. I did the best I could. Plus, I called a lot of people I know and like silly, self-deluded bastards in print. That, to me, is a very good days work.

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

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USATSI

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

In what can be considered your standard bolt out of the blue, California head football coach Sonny Dykes has reportedly been fired.

In what can be considered your standard spur-of-the-Internet-moment-connect-the-dots inspiration, the Internet went immediately to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal rumors.

The logic, of course, is impeccable. Dykes never really snapped the Cal program around, taking a bad program and making it, well, mediocre, and he has spent much of the past two years aggressively seeking out other jobs, so one can assume there was at least some trouble in paradise, even if you want to make the case that Cal football and paradise are somehow connected.

And Kelly just got canned by the 49ers as part of Jed York’s latest I-will-not-be-made-to-look-ridiculous twitch, so he could sign a properly modest contract at Berkeley and still get his full $6 million with the offset from the three years left on his Jed deal.

So it makes perfect sense . . . which is why it should be judged with considerable skepticism.

For one, Kelly can almost surely do better in the college job diaspora. Cal is a big name with modest ambitions due in part to constant budget constraints, and there are better jobs out there even if he sits for a year.

For two, Cal and Kelly are an odd fit, given the persistent tensions between academia and athletica at Berkeley.

For three, the job comes with massive roadblocks, including Stanford, USC, Washington and (potentially) a resuscitation of the Oregon he left behind. Success will not come easy, if it does at all.

For four, Cal just finished four years of gimmick offense and overburdened defense, and Kelly would provide a more successful version of the same.

And for five, this is too easy, too simple, too convenient. Something about this scenario must be wrong somewhere. When people hit the Internet with photoshopped Kelly-in-Cal-costumes within minutes of the Dykes announcement, you know this is too obvious to actually come to fruition.

Why? Because we don’t live that well, that’s why.

The beauty of a triumphant Kelly at Cal glowering down at the charred ruin in Santa Clara seems more appealing than it actually is, because try as they might, Cal fans will never be backing the more popular horse here, and Kelly won’t win that battle unless he takes Cal to the Rose Bowl while the 49ers are still grappling over draft positions.

In that way, reality sucks. The idea that Jed York could be mocked in collegial absentia by his two biggest coaching hires is delicious but almost surely illusory.

But until we get more on why Dykes got canned 43 days after the team’s last game – recruiting, academic issues, legal issues, photocopier problems from him sending his resume out so often – all we have is the Chip Kelly rumor-ette to keep us intrigued.

Okay, to keep us amused.

Okay, to keep us from falling over in a coma. Cal should matter more than it does, but it’s been 13 years since the Holiday Bowl zenith of the Jeff Tedford Era, and 25 since Bruce Snyder took the Ursines to the Citrus Bowl. The evidence since 1990 is of a team with bigger dreams than means that is slightly below .500 (160-164). Sonny Dykes leaving means one more coach who didn’t make an impact unless his departure leads to either reassessment of the program’s standards, internal or external sanctions . . .

. . . or what the hell, Chip Kelly. Let’s face it – in these dismal days for wacked-out rumormongering, this is pretty intoxicating stuff.

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

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Geology.com

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

The Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors have always had a casual attitude about their home court, even by the once-flexible standards of the National Basketball Association.

Thus, it should be only slightly amusing but not actually surprising that Warriors chief arenologist Rick Welts is now waffling a bit (courtesy Comrade Poole) on whether the team will change its name to San Francisco Warriors when it moves across the pond in 2019-20, or retain its current geographic association with Narnia.

I mean Golden State. I often confuse utterly fictional locales – when I can be bothered to give a toss either way.

But the Warriors, whether they play in Oakland, San Francisco, Pier 30, Pier 32, Westeros, Hobbiton, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, Curryvania, the Klingon Empire, the Death Star or Planet Nine, are relocating, and once they break the seal on the earth in 12 days, Welts and his fellow elves will almost surely play the team’s future name as a mildly tedious cliffhanger.

Hey, fun is where you find it.

The matter of the team’s relocation will be a sore subject among lifelong East Bay residents, who have put up with the Warriors for 45 years in various stages of development, including the current “We Almost Never Lose” stage. They regard the Warriors’ transplantation to San Francisco to be an unspeakable crime given the high level of fan allegiance afforded them in Oakland.

And yes, they regard Oakland and San Francisco as very real places, as opposed to Golden State, Freedonia, Vulgaria or the Nexus of All Realities.

It is not yet fully known what San Franciscans think of this development, but that’s the nature of the gamble here. They may embrace the Warriors as the new toy in town and then lose interest, and frankly, neither Welts nor anyone else knows the answer to that.

Either way, their die is cast, and Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are now future former Oakland fixtures. Yes, they are quite fond of the exciting new real estate values and their exciting new unobstructed view of the bay, but it has long been assumed that the move would also entail changing the name back to “San Francisco” for the snob appeal.

Now Welts, who has overseen both arena projects (including the one at Piers 30 and 32 which ended up with the piers beating the Warriors in a rout), tells Comrade Poole that the San Francisco Warriors might not end up as the San Francisco Warriors after all.

“Four years ago, I think the conventional wisdom in our building here in Oakland was that yes, we should attach a city name to the team, then it becomes a more global franchise,” Welts marketing-gobbledy-gooked. “There was a lot of head-scratching four years ago about where the Golden State Warriors even played, in other parts of the world. What’s happened with the team over the course of the ensuing years, until today, has made the Warriors if not the preeminent, at least among the three best-known NBA franchises around the world. And everybody who didn’t know where the Golden State Warriors were four years ago, if you’re a fan today, anywhere in the world, you know where the Golden State Warriors are.”

In Oakland.

Now, the mic drop.

“The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” he added. “I guess it’s fair to say there’s been no final decision made. But if you were a betting man, I think you would probably want to wager that the name might remain the same.”

Of course. Why not stay fictional when specificity might move fewer hoodies?

Then again, this is a team that in its 70 years has played home games in Philadelphia (the Arena, the Civic Center, Lincoln High School and Convention Hall), Hershey and Bethlehem PA, Atlantic City, Trenton, Collingswood and Camden NJ, and Saratoga Springs NY . . .

(a moment’s rest here to catch our breaths)

. . . and then after moving west in 1962, the Cow Palace, San Francisco Civic Auditorium and USF’s Memorial Gym, the Oakland Auditorium, San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose Arena, Richmond Auditorium, then Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Diego, Eugene, Seattle, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

In fact, and you can swindle the gullible at your neighborhood tavern with this one, the Warriors’ first game in San Francisco occurred almost three years before the team left Philadelphia. The Warriors played the visitors to the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles a year later and had already played a regular season game at the Cow Palace earlier in the year, so this game, January 31, 1960, could have been considered a civic scouting trip for both teams as they sought new homes.

In other words, the Warriors are almost surely the most geographically vague team in the history of North American sports. Moreover, they are about to become the first team in sports history to go home for the third time under three different city names – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Krypton, or whatever the hell they want to call themselves this time.